by Marcel Mutoni

David Stern has seen how popular Team USA is in China, how they’re mobbed wherever they go, and naturally, dollar signs began dancing in his head. The commish, in a pow-wow with the press, said the NBA is looking to expand into the Far East by sponsoring their own league in Yao’s country.

No timetable for this expansion was explicitly given, but Stern foresees teams in something like 8-12 arenas throughout China.

More from the AP:

“That would be a separate league that would be NBA-affiliated or NBA-sponsored, but it would be independent,” Stern said.

“And it would just sign players. For a very long time to come it would be at a lower scale than the NBA. But as the sport develops in China, and as more players around the world recognize the opportunities of playing in China, we see that league growing and strengthening.”

Stern also added that the NBA is exploring its options in the hoops hotbed that is India.

Next stop: The moon.